05 July 2024. Brought to you by Taya Stankevych.

Mia Kalogjera

What is your current job / programme of study? 

I work at the University of Birmingham where I teach postgraduate programmes in railway engineering, participate in all manner of outreach events, and I’m finishing my PhD in the history of technology. 

What A-Levels (or equivalent) did you do? 

Nothing to do with any part of STEM! I’m a late arrival to this field. I did Art History, Literature, and four foreign languages (German, English, Italian, and French). Because I was good in MFL and Humanities I was able to dodge maths, which was a poor life decision so now I’m catching up. 

Why did you chose a career in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)? 

It’s still ahead of me, so being an Ambassador is my way in. 😊 My BA degree was partially in Printmaking where I developed an appreciation for the science behind art, both chemistry and engineering. 

What did you enjoy most about your MSE course? (If you didn’t do a MSE course which course did you do and what led to you MSE?) 

I’ve zigzagged all over the place. First I studied languages, then art, then politics (in art), and now I’m in STEM. I started my Art course with a love of drawing and graduated with a love of pigments and materials. 

What is your research about?  

This won’t sound exciting but I love it – I study the training and regulation that gets developed alongside new technologies, to make sure people don’t get injured by the clever things they do. 

What is the coolest thing you have done in your career so far?  

I got to drive three kinds of trains by now! Under supervision, of course, and not on mainline railways, but it is a childhood dream. I also get paid to play with Lego. 

What do you see yourself doing in the future? 

Teaching more, I hope. Few things feel better than seeing people master a skill they’ve been struggling with, or seeing their efforts lead to confidence and joy. 

What is your favourite material (and why)?  

Paper! You can make it out of anything, you can turn it into anything… no need to destroy forests to enjoy this marvellous toy. 

What advice would you give your 16 year old self? 

You don’t have to be the best at everything. Making some mistakes now and learning how to deal with failure will save you a lot of anguish in the future.  


Mia Kalogjera | LinkedIn